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About the Author’s Latest Release:
Johnny Graves is a hired killer for the mob.
For the right money, he’ll kill anyone for his bosses.
Tonight he’s been given a new mark, but this time his orders are to keep the man alive at all costs.
Find out more in this 10,000 word short story.
Interview with the Author:
What initially got you interested in writing?
Before I began to regularly read books, including school books, I was discovering adventure stories first in Old Time Radio programs late at night and then later in comic books. It wasn’t long before I began drawing pictures of costumed heroes but soon I realized that what I was doing was telling stories with my pictures. Soon I would rough out scripts for these pictures. Though I am still an artist, I find that story telling is far more fulfilling, and the writing flows from that. Which has lead to writing animation, comic books, short stories and novels.
What genres do you write in and why?
I write fantasy, science fiction, and mystery. Currently, my main interest has become mystery, especially in the style of the old pulp novels of the 1930s. New Pulp as it’s called today.
How did you decide to make the move into becoming a published author?
My first printed story was in my college newspaper, a science fiction ecological tale. Years later, I would sell my first stories to an animated television series in Japan, Midnight Horror School. You probably haven’t heard of it.
Through the years, while pursuing a career in animation and comic book script writing, I continued my genre prose writing, whether it is mystery, science fiction, or fantasy. I hadn’t really considered novel writing, some dumb voice in my head said that would be hard and complex and I should stick to short stories and scripts. Hey, I said it was a dumb voice.
Then, a few years back, I made a decision to kick that voice aside, and signed up for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) and during that month I wrote an ‘epic’ sci-fi drama. I’ll get around to rewriting it someday, but while I was writing it a completely different idea crept into my head and wouldn’t leave: a mystery fantasy story involving a genie.
I quickly jotted down the idea and put it aside while completing my SF tome, but once that was done the genie demanded to have her story told.
Took a while until I was really happy with it, but I knew this would be the first real novel that I would want the public to read, and hopefully buy.
The publishing industry isn’t easy, so I made the decision to go independent and release CLOCKWORK GENIE as an e-book. It has been a great experience, even though maybe just as hard, I am glad I did it.
I also began to write an online serialized tale called REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST. Done in the style and tone of the pulps of the 1930s, this tale has received more notice than my genie. Once the serial was completed I released it as a novel and including an extra short story in the back.
The worlds of the Masked Ghost and my Clockwork Genie continue to speak to me and I write short stories involving those characters:
THE COP WHO WOULDN’T DIE: A CLOCKWORK GENIE STORY is about a police detective that experiences the consequences of knowing the genie.
A TALE OF THE SCARLET SPIRIT: IN THE CLUTCHES OF CONVICTS continues the world of The Masked Ghost and those in his family who have chosen to take up his haunting quest for justice, and his mask.
I have also had short stories published by Pro Se Press in the anthologies NEWSHOUNDS and BLACK FEDORA.
What inspired you to write NO EASY WAY TO DIE, and why did you decide to use a “bad guy” as a main character compared to your previous stories?
It started out simply enough as wanting to write about a “bad guy”, but just how bad a guy could he be if I wanted the audience to like him enough to at least finish the story?
As mentioned earlier, I grew up on listening to Old Time Radio, and one of the programs I listened to was a series called “The Adventures of Harry Lime” starring Orson Wells. It was stories of a con artist who ended up helping people along the way. It was an enjoyable series. The problem came years later when I finally got to see the movie THE THIRD MAN that the radio series was based off of. The Harry Lime in the movie is not someone who helps people. He’s purely out for himself, not caring if orphans die because of his actions.
I was not thinking of Harry Lime when I first wrote this story, but I knew that my “bad guy” could not be that bad. Even though he is a killer, there had to be something redeemable about him, I just had to find out what it was.
You’ll just have to tell me if I found it or not.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
Enjoyment. There is an enjoyment that comes with reading that doesn’t require some deep felt theme. Yet if there is something to be found in my writing, then maybe it’s these two things. Family is important, and romance can be found in any story regardless of genre. Romance not necessarily of love and sex, but the romance between two partners who would die for one another. Even my “bad guy” has a little bit of that in him, even if he doesn’t know it yet.
But most of all, I hope they enjoy my stories.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
What I enjoy the most about writing is chasing the characters around. When the story really works best is when the characters come alive and take over the plot. I may have something planned out, but it takes living characters to make it all work, and living characters can take you far away from your planned course and bring you to the same conclusion in a much better way. It’s more rewarding to complete a story with the feeling that it always existed because the characters wanted their lives to be told. When it works, it’s a fabulous feeling.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
When it doesn’t work, it’s a sluggish, give it up feeling. The most challenging part of writing is the plotting for me. I can have an idea, and it can be a good one but when I’m outlining and plotting out each step of the way it’s very draining of all creative energy and you can get to the point of where its nothing but marks on the paper. But as I said, when a character wakes up and pulls me along instead of me dragging them things improve greatly.
What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?
I know it’s a simple answer, and some might say it’s an easy out answer, but that’s where it all starts. Write, write, and write some more.
Some people call themselves ‘aspiring writers’, no you are not. You are a writer. Good or bad, you are a writer. So write!
Write the absolute worst stuff now, so you can get it out of the way.
Keep writing, because the hard work is just down the road. That’s call rewriting. So start writing now, and never stop.
Oh, and while you’re writing, be inspired. Read a lot, of all sorts of genres not just what you like. Expand your horizon; there is so much space out there to write in.
Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?
As I said at the start, I got into all this wanting to be a comic book artist. I got my professional start as an artist assistant in the early years of Image Comics. For over the last sixteen years I have been illustrating a comic book entitled FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY, which can be found online at http://www.flying-glory.com. I also co-write it with my wife. We are currently doing a 52-page story line entitled “The Gift” which will be resuming after the holiday break. It is a great time to jump in and discover the characters.
What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?
Twitter: @_maskedghost_ at http://www.twitter.com/_maskedghost_